Astana Open: Djokovic, three months of absence and a comeback

As if nothing ever happened. Very clever that he could notice last week that Novak Djokovic was playing his first tournament since his Wimbledon triumph in early July. Of course, seeing the Serbian win in an ATP 250 that didn’t include a single Top 10 member isn’t a great feeling in itself. What is most striking, however, is that he had so few lows in his week that he logically lacked pace and announced he was suffering from wrist pain after the Laver Cup.

In Israel, the “Djoker” swept away any doubt, indeed every little question that concerned him. The little physical discomfort of him? Forgotten from the first two hours of training last Tuesday. His ability to chain matches? He played four from Thursday to Sunday, he won them all, without losing a single set. The key to a third title this season (his 89th career) – only Alcaraz (5), Nadal (4), Ruud (4) and Rublev (3) have as many or more – on a different third surface (Rome on clay, Wimbledon on grass and then Tel Aviv on concrete), which no one had yet reached in 2022.

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“Federer also told Djokovic that his level of play was astounding after a three-month break.”

A level found in a minimum of time

Djokovic, in all, was almost absent from the courts for six months due to his refusal to get vaccinated: from January to early April (with the exception of the Doha tournament) then from July to the end of September. Namely his ability to quickly regain his level.

My approach when competing is to win tournaments wherever I am and I am happy to have a team around me that makes sure I am in the best shape possible to be a contender for victory. That’s why I came to Israel: to try and win the title. It was my first time playing here in over 15 years and a Davis Cup match, so it really was a great experience“, He considered Sunday after his title.

Many winning setbacks for a victorious comeback: how Djokovic dominated Cilic

Facing Marin Cilic in the final, still a solid member of the Top 20 and seeded 2 of the tournament, we undeniably found the one who spent 373 weeks in place of the number 1 in the world. Effective in the recovery against the Croatian – who had suffered only four break points in the rest of the week and whose tennis expresses itself beautifully in his indoor conditions -, he imposed his infernal pace in the baseline exchanges. A break in each set will be enough for him to fold the box in 1h35, like in a parade.

It was more than a tournament

Objectively her Race ranking (15th) might raise some doubts about her attendance at the Masters – she must be in the top 20 since winning a Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon – but after this week in Tel Aviv, she’s not there. more. too many doubts. Here he is with a 565-point mattress on 21st Denis Shapovalov. But it is above all the impression left on the pitch that is more than reassuring. He would even tend to scare his future potential opponents this week in Astana.

I played tennis very well. I hadn’t played a tournament in three months, so I was very motivated to do really well. Especially since people have been so friendly, welcoming and supportive all week. I am full of confidence for the next week. I am very grateful, it has been more than a tournament for me. We have created great bonds with the people we will love. They will give us positive vibes for what is to come“, He warned again.

Freshness to match Federer in Turin

Striking contrast to his nightmarish start to the season in Australia from where he was expelled as a plague victim due to cheating on his right to participate in the first Grand Slam of the year. Let’s say that the “Djoker” is more hungry for wins than ever and if he has a positive point to remember about this high and low season it is that he will get close to the physically fresh result of him.

Winner of 20 of the last 21 games – his last defeat in the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros against Rafael Nadal – his self-confidence and his tennis have never left him. And it would not be surprising to see him crash in Turin with the wind in his sails after the ATP 500 in Astana and the Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy. After all, he has Roger Federer’s Masters winning record (6) to match. The kind of challenge that whets your appetite even more.

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